Set Down Our Stones

“Let anyone of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” – (John 8:7b, NIV)

“Whoever hasn’t sinned should throw the first stone.” – (John 8:7b, CEB)

“Let the first stone be thrown by the one among you who has not sinned.” – (John 8:7b, VOICE)

 

This particular story recorded in the book of John, is one of the amazing goodness and grace of Jesus. A woman who was caught in sin was brought before Jesus by the Pharisees, as they hoped to trap Jesus and condemn the woman. When Jesus spoke these words to those who accused her, one by one, they dropped their rocks and walked away. Each one knew that they too had sinned and did not qualify as sinless to hurl stones. I imagine we all have certain offenses against us that make our blood boil, however, when we slow down, breathe and reflect, we have to recognize that we are also offenders of others, even if it is without intent to harm. Sometimes it is the words that escape our mouths, other times it is our actions, or often even worse, our inactions, that are among our own sins. It is critical that we deal with our own sin, rather than try to manage that of another. Granted, there are roles that we are called to fill where it is our job to help others navigate a life of obedience, but even then, it is not by throwing stones that we correct, but rather through conversation, consequence and redirection. May we look to the example of Jesus when the offenses of others are brought before us, for not one of us is free from sin.

 

The stones in our hands, Set Down Our Stones

We must choose set down;

As we all have sinned,

We’ve made our own mound.

A mountain of rocks,

Where our own sins lie;

Each one forgiven,

Love never denied.

Let us do likewise,

Forgive each other;

Demonstrate God’s grace,

To one another.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us incredible examples of Your forgiveness and grace, though they are not deserved. Thank You that we all are in need of mercy and grace, as not one of us is without sin. Forgive us for holding stones in our hands, ready to throw, rather than slowing down to look at our own lives and recognize that we too have reason to receive retribution for our own offenses. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would set down our stones and seek Your strength and grace to extend to those around us. Show us how to love others with the same mercy, grace and goodness that You extend to us in our own spaces of need. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we set our stones in Your hands, and receive the goodness that You give in their place to extend to those around us. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6

Sent to Save

God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him. – (John 3:17, NLT)

God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending His Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. – (John 3:17, MSG)

God did not send His Son into the world to judge and condemn the world, but to be its Savior and rescue it! – (John 3:17, TPT)

 

Mercy and grace are such crazy concepts to grasp at times, especially when we are our own worst critics. The times when we have messed up the most and someone comes along and extends grace or forgiveness, though we do not deserve it, become the most memorable and tangible examples of God’s intentions for us. Though we are all sinners and fall short of His glory, He loves us just the same. He sent His Son so that we could be covered once and for all and be called righteous in His eyes, no matter what we have done. Knowing this reminds me how important it is that I extend mercy and grace to those around me. Yes, there are actions and behaviors that have to have consequences so that learning takes place, however, I have to separate the action from the individual. Just as my children at times make choices that require redirection and consequences, my love and care for them does not and will not change. God views us in the very same light. Though there are at times, natural consequences for our decisions, His love is ever-present to pick us up, dust us off, and love us to life again. May we ever look to the Lord for forgiveness and grace, trusting that He has come to save us.

 

With mercy and grace, Sent to Save

God sent His own Son;

To forgive our faults,

All wrongs that we’ve done.

He came to restore,

What we had broken;

With His dying breath,

Forgiveness spoken.

And when He was raised,

He reclaimed His throne;

Where He covers us,

With love He’s made known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son into the world, not to condemn us, but to save us. Thank You for Your amazing mercy and grace, though we deserve it not. Forgive us for the times that we resist receiving what You freely offer. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would walk in the light of Your love, forgiven and free, extending the same grace to others that we have been given by You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates mercy and grace in a tangible way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for coming to save us and go forth extending to others what You have given to us. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost. – Luke 19:10

Reverently Receive

For God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son so that anyone who believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. God did not send His Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it. – (John 3:16-17, TLB)

 

Though we were far from God, living life according to our own agenda, Christ came to show us a better way. He did not come to condemn us, but rather to make us righteous so that we might know Him. God loved so that we could know love. There is no greater love than this – for He loved while we were so unlovable; not because we were worthy, but because we are His created, and He is merciful and full of grace. It is His kindness that leads to repentance and shows us the way to eternal life with Him. May we embrace the mercy and grace that we have been freely and lavishly given by God, and go forth in love as we are loved.

 

Because God so loved,

Hold Hope He is Faithful

image from quotespictures.com

There is a way home;

A path to heaven,

That Christ has made known.

When we place our trust,

In the Lord above;

And follow His ways,

We grow in His love.

It’s through His kindness,

And His loving grace;

That we’re forgiven,

Wrapped in His embrace.

Those who choose to trust,

No more shall we die;

Instead we will know,

Love’s eternal life.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You so loved the world that You gave Your only Son. Thank You that anyone who believes in Him won’t perish, but will live forever with You. Thank You that You did not send Jesus to condemn us, but rather to save us. Forgive us for mistaking You for an angry God that is not merciful, or for taking Your forgiveness for granted. Teach us to view You through the proper lens, and to recognize the weight of what You have done for us to make our presence before You possible. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends mercy and grace in the same way that we have been given so much from You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we readily and reverently receive the incredible gift of eternal life that You give. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you.” – Exodus 33:19

Above All – Love

In this day and age, more and more is being deemed permissible and acceptable, despite that only a decade ago, the very same, was viewed with disdain.  It is a strange space to stand – to have morals and convictions that are steadfast, yet live in a society where what is seen as acceptable, is ever changing.  My charge, as one who loves God and longs to serve Him well, is to love people, not judge and condemn them.  I only need look to the scriptures to see how Jesus interacted with those living a life of intentional sin.  He did not condemn them, rather He loved them where they were.  He touched, He healed, He helped, and He showed them that there was another way – a way that would bring life and light, hope and peace, not only for now, but for eternity.

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged.  Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.  Forgive, and you will be forgiven.  Give, and it will be given to you.  A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.  For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” – (Luke 6:35-36)

In the face of criticism for touching the untouchables, dining with the “unworthy“, healing on a day that had been declared a day off, and for loving with His life, Jesus, who alone is worthy to judge and condemn, spoke the above written words.  If He, who will be our final judge and jury tells us not to judge, then we ought not stand in judgment of one another.  It does not mean that we are to allow ourselves to become entangled in that which we know is wrong, but we are not to point a finger, while we still have four other digits that are aimed back at us.

We are called to forgive, just as He forgives us.  I cannot even begin to count the times that I have asked for His forgiveness, and yet, neither will He.  The same must hold true from me toward others.  I am called to forgive in the same way.  Likewise, I ought to be generous and kind, not withholding goodness and grace from anyone.  For He has given unto me, so I also am to give.

Judge not in the world,Above All Love

for we are not called;

to stand on the throne,

a place self-installed.

No condemnation,

is issued in love;

rather grace given,

from our God above.

When a heart repents,

and asks for His grace;

He takes sin away,

puts love in its place.

How will they know Him,

if in us they see;

our pointing fingers,

rather than mercy?

Let us love so well,

that all long to know;

what is our reason,

so they too may grow.

May goodness and grace,

and God’s love be seen;

so many may come,

to know what Love means.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us how to live and love the way that You want us to.  Help us to not judge nor condemn those around us, and please grant us the grace to forgive and extend mercy to all.  Forgive us for judging and condemning things, even if only in our hearts, and help us to approach all with Your mercy and grace, so that many may see Your love in us.  May many who are stuck or are somewhere in the search, come to find the Light in You, as we are faithful to do as You ask of us.  Help us to forgive and give, as if it is unto You.  Be exalted in our obedience to all that You are asking.  Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.